The most important social media trends in 2021

The most important social media trends in 2021

The most important social media trends in 2021

As social platforms introduce new features and change their algorithms, social media trends have also undergone evolution. Let us take Instagram stories as an example. A few years ago, Snapchat was known for its disappearing content that triggered FOMO, but there does not seem to be widespread demand for similar features on other networks. Now, more than 500 million people use this feature on Instagram every day, and more and more platforms are adding the same feature.

This proves how fast we are adopting new trends in social media.

These rapid changes have created entirely new challenges for brands and social media marketers as they must constantly review existing strategies and shift to adding new types of content to their repertoire. Marketers must constantly pay attention to the latest trends affecting the future of social media and develop accordingly.

After a year of transformation, companies are making every effort to use social networking as a valuable source of business intelligence.

If you are looking for the latest social media trends for you in 2021. We have compiled some hot trends worth paying attention to to help you adapt and grow for business.

1. Live streams will remain popular

The global health crisis in 2020 has witnessed many companies going digital, but they can maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face-to-face meetings become Zoom meetings, and live concerts become live broadcasts of artists playing at home.

Therefore, it is natural that the use of live streaming on social media has increased. Facebook has seen substantial growth in messaging and live streaming, especially in COVID-19 hotspots like Italy. 

Although the situation continues to evolve in 2021, people have become accustomed to the life of interacting with brands without leaving home. Therefore, live streaming will continue to be popular and should definitely be part of your social media marketing strategy.

According to the latest Sprout Social Index, 25% of marketers said that live video is one of the most valuable content types to achieve their social goals.

2. Stories as a content format

As mentioned earlier, more than 500 million users interact with Instagram Stories every day. Therefore, although Instagram Stories had become the dominant content format in the previous year, they will not disappear anytime soon.

Brands need to adopt a more structured approach and plan to use Stories as the content format of their release calendar, if they have not already done so. More importantly, the use of videos as stories will increase because they seem to perform better than photos.

A study by SocialInsider found that images in Stories have a 5.65% higher click-through rate than videos. Click-through rate refers to the number of people who saw your story before completing it and moved to the next story. The same analysis also found that there are more photos in Stories than videos, which indicates that people tend to spend more time watching videos.

No wonder 51% of brands already use video in Stories, and this number may increase in 2021.

Stories as a content format : Average exit rate for video Stories vs. Stories with image

3. Virtual reality will become more popular on social media

Currently we need to stay at home and maintain social distance, people are seeking more meaningful virtual interactions. Virtual reality (VR) is one of the current technological trends that can provide them with these interactions.

Interacting with people through VR, even if they are on the other side of the earth, can make you feel like you are truly together. This is exactly the experience that people need when they must maintain social distancing.

In 2021, as the platform advances to integrate this technology, virtual reality may become more and more popular on social media.

Take Facebook Horizon​​n as an example. As of early 2021, Facebook is using the Oculus VR platform to beta test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect with others, and play games.

4. Augmented reality as a media trend

Similar to virtual reality, recent events have accelerated the adoption of augmented reality (AR) experiences, including in the social realm. AR does not require additional hardware other than smartphones, making it easier to access than VR. It is also familiar from the experience of dynamic photo filters that have been used on multiple social platforms for many years. Augmented reality experiences are interactive in nature and participate very effectively.

Brands quickly integrate into this latest social media trend by creating AR filters to promote new products or encourage fan interaction. This can keep your audience engaged and entertained, and can even help you attract new customers with the right promotions.

A good example is how McDonald’s came up with the Spice Zapper filter, which allows users to tap on gold nuggets when they fall.

McDonald's : Spice Zapper filter

Due to limited physical store shopping in 2020, AR can also effectively promote purchases. The AR shopping option that lets you try on products through your phone’s camera was implemented on Instagram in 2019. An AR experience that lets you imagine products at home will only continue to drive sales.

Creatively applying AR to social media marketing strategies in 2021 can help your brand stand out. The 2020 Sprout Social Index even found that creative and entertaining content are some of the primary factors that make a brand’s social influence stand out.

Augmented reality as a media trend: what makes a brand's social presence stand out

5. Social commerce will continue to grow

As the social media industry continues to adapt to enhance the user experience, we see more features and tools that support quick and easy shopping. For example, Instagram allows you to add product tags and easily checkout without leaving the platform. On Facebook, you can set up a store where people can browse and buy directly on the platform.

This may be the perfect tool for marketers to utilize in 2021, especially considering the role of social media in purchasing decisions. Remember, 54% of social media users use social media research products. Social media recommendations can influence 71% of users’ purchasing decisions.

When you add social commerce to the equation, you can simplify and shorten the customer journey. Now, when your audience sees a product they like on social media, they no longer need to search the website. They can buy directly from the platform, which may reduce abandoned transactions. In fact, just having a buy button can increase the likelihood of purchases and help promote social transactions.

Social commerce will continue to grow : purchase decisions are influenced by social media

Therefore, setting up a social media storefront and making your posts shoppable is one of the most important social media best practices in 2021. If you don’t adjust your strategy to adapt to changing audience behavior, you may lose your potential customers.

6. Purpose-driven campaigns to take center stage

Although social media has been promoting participation in causes, the global pandemic has brought these causes into a more prominent focus. People want to help more than ever, and they want brands to get involved.

Companies such as Unilever have taken measures to support emergency work.

As the brand has weathered multiple crises in 2020, it also emphasized the importance of authenticity and supporting its marketing activities. Knowing when to participate and when to exit sensitive issues that may not be relevant to your brand is crucial. The audience expects brands to show leadership and meaningful actions on social issues, rather than using them to gain marketing opportunities.

7. Inclusivity will matter more than ever

Brands are facing increasing pressure and need to make meaningful progress in their business operations and marketing. Viewers are more aware than ever that they have many options, which leads them to invest money in companies that invest in the community and their passions.

Brands need to keep up. Brands can no longer remain silent and passive about issues that your target audience is very concerned about. An Accenture study found that 29% of shoppers will switch to a brand committed to inclusiveness and diversity.

However, audiences are also becoming more aware that performance activism looks more like a marketing activity than a meaningful contribution-make sure your inclusive content is well-informed and make sure your brand is ready to take action. These important social issues cannot just be regarded as another hot topic.

Therefore, in 2021, inclusiveness will become a greater concern for brands that want to establish a deeper connection with their customers. If your brand’s social influence does not reflect your audience’s perception of identity and diversity, you will eventually lose an important opportunity to connect with them.

8. Authenticity and transparency will be paramount

Consumers want brands to become authentic. This means maintaining the authenticity and transparency of products and operations. If you want people to trust you, you need to be honest with them.

What better way than through social media? According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index, transparency and interaction with the audience are the two major factors that make a brand a best-in-class social.

Authenticity and transparency will be paramount : what makes a brand's social best in class

If you make a mistake, please admit it through a social media message from your heart. Let your customers feel free to contact you if they encounter any problems or disappointments. Instead of deleting negative comments, address them publicly and show them how much you care about their problems. The audience understands social more than ever, so you can’t expect to “escape” trying to avoid, delete, or otherwise cover up mistakes.

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